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A ruby wrapper around the (not so nice) WeeChat API
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COPYING initial commit Dec 4, 2009

What this library is about

The idea behind this library is to provide a clean way of writing scripts for WeeChat, giving the programmer the usual Ruby experience.

While WeeChat already provides an extensive API which allows to modify and control many parts of the client, that API is only providing the plain C functions, making it very unintuitive for Ruby users (or actually every other scripting/programming language, too). That also means that writing Ruby scripts usually comes with a lot of repetitive tasks, like converting C booleans to Ruby, handling string representations of C pointers or having to free objects. Also the approach of simply exposing the C API leaves us with absolutely no object orientation.

And that's what this library is supposed to check. About every function is wrapped into classes, conversions are done under the hood and writing scripts in general becomes way more intuitive. No more pointers or callbacks in the form of strings, no more freeing of objects and a more appealing interface in general.

Working with properties

The WeeChat API has multiple means of returning and setting properties. On the one side, some properties of windows and buffers are exposed by (window|buffer)_get_(string|integer) methods, but on the other side some properties are also only available through infolists. Both ways of receiving properties got the downside of returning C'ish values (0 for false, 1 for true, "" for nil/empty arrays).

Setting properties is even more unnatural to Ruby programmers, because it always expects string arguments, again C'ish values ("0" for false and so on) and sometimes the setter methods are even used for invoking actions, like moving a buffer or resetting the read marker.

Because of this, the WeeChat gem provides an abstractional layer around the whole concept of properties, exposing all properties as instance attributes (that is, as getter and setter methods), providing methods for actions like resetting the read marker, and applying transformations to turn C'ish values into real Ruby classes and vice versa. Also, while using the traditional API only returned duplicates of values, the abstractional layer returns references to objects. That means, if two variables point to the same property, none of them will be outdated if the other one is being changed in place.

buffer = Weechat::Buffer.current
buffer.highlight_words = ["word1", "word2"]
buffer.highlight_words # => ["word1", "word2"]

buffer = Weechat::Buffer.all.last
buffer.lines_hidden? # => false          # displays the buffer in the current window

buffer = Weechat::Buffer.current
a = buffer.short_name # => "weechat"
b = buffer.short_name # => "weechat"
a.replace("new name") # => "new name"
buffer.short_name     # => "new name"
b                     # => "new name"

References, however, won't be updated once an assignment was made to the property, just like with real Ruby objects:

buffer = Weechat::Buffer.current
a = buffer.short_name          # => "weechat"
buffer.short_name = "new name" # => "new name"
a                              # => "weechat"

Programatically accessing properties

If you have to access properties in a metaprogrammed fashion but do not want to use the low level methods, feel free to use {Weechat::Properties::InstanceMethods#get_property} and {Weechat::Properties::InstanceMethods#set_property}, which provide all of the added functionality mentioned above (note, however, that properties returning true/false won't have an appended question mark to their name if using {Weechat::Properties::InstanceMethods#get_property #get_property} and {Weechat::Properties::InstanceMethods#set_property #set_property}.

Note regarding the documentation

Because most getters and setters for properties are being generated using metaprogramming, they won't show up in the attribute or method lists in the documentation. Instead you can find a list of those properties and their return values in the introductional description of each class (if suitable).

Low level access

The WeeChat gem provides several methods for low level access to properties (which are still better than directly using the WeeChat API), in varying degress. Using those, however, should never be necessary nor should it give any advantages over the abstractional layer. If you ever get into a situation where you have to use the low level API, please inform me, providing a sample of what you are doing and your intentions and I will try to update the layer.

If you, for whatever reason, feel attached to the low level API though, please consult the official API documentation regarding property names and {Weechat::Properties} regarding available methods.


See {Weechat::Buffer}


See {Weechat::Window}


Infolists do represent a lower level aspect, are an exception to the general "you shouldn't use the low level calls" though, as it might be necessary to use them directly from time to time.

See {Weechat::Infolist}

Sorted lists

While the WeeChat API exposes a few functions for creating and working with sorted lists, I've decided not to implement any of those because Ruby provides own means of lists. If you think this is a missing feature, inform me and I might add them to the library.

Writing scripts


A common practice when writing scripts for WeeChat is to have a bunch of constants which contain script name, description and so on. Those constants then will be used in the weechat_init and weechat_register functions.

This library is taking it a step further, expecting the user to create a hash called @script with those information (where missing information will be filled with default values by the library). An included weechat_init method will then automatically use that hash to register the script. After that, it will, if existing, call the setup method defined by the script writer, in which one can do additional things when loading the script, like creating commands.

A similar hook, teardown, will be called when the script is unloaded.

require 'weechat'
include Weechat

@script = {
  :name => "testscript",                           # must not be empty
  :author => "Dominik Honnef <>", # defaults to "Anonymous"
  :version => "0.0.1",                             # defaults to "0.0.1"
  :license => 'GPL3',                              # defaults to "unlicensed"
  :gem_version => '0.0.1',                         # defaults to "0.0.1" and specifies the
                                                   # the minimum required version of the gem
  :description => "this serves as a test suite and example file for the weechat gem",
  # defaults to "Empty script description

def setup
  # do custom stuff when the script is being loaded

def teardown
  # do custom stuff when the script is being unloaded


  • String#split_shell
  • Hash
  • Two arguments


We provide an abstraction around plugin specific configs, including automatic typecasting and default values, getting and setting of values (also in place [see "Working with Properties"]).

While some objects like Strings, Arrays and Booleans can be converted directly to and from a weechat config string, other objects can, too, be stored in Weechat's per-plugin config system using YAML for the internal representation. While this allows one to store any kind of objects, it is more than unlikely that a user is willing to change those settings using /set, so use those objects sparingly.

# ...
@config =
                             'some_list'    => [Array, []],
                             'some_boolean' => [Boolean, true],
                             'some_color'   => [Color, 'red'],
def setup
  @config.some_list # returns an array (either [] if the option
                    # is not set yet or whatever has been set by the user)

  @config.some_list << "new item" # automatically converts the new array
                                  # to a string and store it in the config

Implementing own objects

If you want to implement your own conversion for objects (instead of using YAML), define an instance method to_weechat_config and a class method from_weechat_config(value) on the class of your object.

Own configuration files

Currently there are no plans on implementing the more general configurations.

Return values

While the original API expects you to return constants denoting success/failure, this library expects you to raise certain exceptions. The idea behind this is that the original constants had the values 0, 1 and -1; values which might well be implicitly returned by any ruby code that was executed last in a callback. A raised exception, on the other side, is unambiguous. Those exceptions live in the {Weechat::Exception} namespace and got the same name as the old constants.

Updating the gem

The easiest way of updating the gem is to run gem update weechat and then, in WeeChat, /upgrade.

Asynchronous calls

Due to the nature of IRC, some information cannot be requested synchronously, e.g. those that /whois returns. In order to use them, one has to use callbacks (not to be confused with WeeChat callbacks), which will get called as soon as the requested information are available.

user.real_name do |rn|
  # this will get called as soon as the real_name is available.
  # rn will contain the requested information

Information like a user's real name are internally requested and handled using the {Weechat::IRC::Whois} class, which can be accessed using {Weechat::IRC::User#whois}, in the same fashion a single property can be requested:

user.whois do |whois|
  # one can either rely on Whois#method_missing ...

  # or access the data hash directly # => {:real_name => "...", ...}

Contributing to the project

In case you want to contribute to this lovely project: Don't worry, you will have plenty of chances for doing so!

Sending me gifts

While sending me gifts won't fix any bugs or add any new features, it will postively affect my mood, and some people say that good temper equals many bugfixes, so give it a try!

I accept things like new hardware, gadgets, beer, women, plain money and whatever else you can think of. But please DO NOT send me your first born child, even if you really want to, thanks.

Reporting bugs / requesting features

In case you found a bug in my library or miss an important feature, feel free to create a ticket.

Contributing code

Do you belong to those that don't want to only report bugs but who also fix them on your own? Great! Fork my repository at github, create a feature branch, do your stuff and then send me a pull request. If your code does what it is supposed to do, I will merge in your changes.

Write documentation

While this library provides a basic documentation, it lacks examples and guides. I would really appreciate enhancements.

Telling me how great I am

No, really, feel free to tell me.